Recognizing a Peritonsillar Abscess in Pediatric Patients : Advanced Emergency Nursing Journal

Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

NCPD Tests

Recognizing a Peritonsillar Abscess in Pediatric Patients

Advanced Emergency Nursing Journal 45(2):p E5, April/June 2023. | DOI: 10.1097/TME.0000000000000464
  • Free


  • Read the article. The test for this nursing continuing professional development (NCPD) activity is to be taken online at Tests can no longer be mailed or faxed.
  • You'll need to create an account (it's free!) and log in to access My Planner before taking online tests. Your planner will keep track of all your Lippincott Professional Development online NCPD activities for you.
  • There's only one correct answer for each question. A passing score for this test is 7 correct answers. If you pass, you can print your certificate of earned contact hours and access the answer key. If you fail, you have the option of taking the test again at no additional cost.
  • For questions, contact Lippincott Professional Development: 1-800-787-8985.
  • Registration deadline is March 6, 2026.


Lippincott Professional Development will award 2.0 contact hours and 0 pharmacology contact hours for this nursing continuing professional development activity.

Lippincott Professional Development is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

This activity is also provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP 11749 for 2.0 contact hours. Lippincott Professional Development is also an approved provider of continuing nursing education by the District of Columbia, Georgia, West Virginia, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Florida, CE Broker #50-1223. Your certificate is valid in all states.

Payment: The registration fee for this test is $21.95.



Learning Outcome: Seventy-five percent of participants will demonstrate competency in clinical reasoning regarding the care of a patient with a peritonsillar abscess (PTA) by achieving a minimum score of 70% on the outcomes-based posttest.

Learning Objectives: After completing this continuing professional development activity, the participant will apply knowledge gained to:

  1. Select one factor in the epidemiology of PTAs.
  2. Describe the typical clinical presentation of a patient with a PTA.
  3. Apply strategies in the management of a patient with a PTA.
  4. Select diagnostic tests used in the diagnosis of a PTA.
  • 1. What is one of the common organisms that causes PTAs?
    1. Streptococcus pneumoniae
    2. Mycoplasma pneumoniae
    3. Streptococcus pyogenes
  • 2. Which of the following features of your patient's history would raise a red flag as a risk factor for a PTA?
    1. tobacco smoker
    2. gastroesophageal reflux disease
    3. recent dental cleaning
  • 3. If you are performing a needle aspiration of a PTA, to avoid penetration of the internal carotid artery, you should limit the exposed portion of the needle to a maximum of
    1. 6 mm.
    2. 8 mm.
    3. 10 mm.
  • 4. To avoid the carotid artery when performing an incision and drainage of a PTA, you should make your incision
    1. lateral and inferior.
    2. medial and superior.
    3. medial and inferior.
  • 5. Your first priority when caring for a patient with a PTA is to
    1. administer antibiotics early.
    2. initiate intravenous hydration.
    3. maintain a patent airway.

Case-based assessment: Placing yourself in the role of the nurse, use the following scenario to apply the knowledge and skills you learned in the attached article.

Questions 6–10 are based on this case scenario:

C.J. is a 6-year-old girl complaining of a severe sore throat for the past week. Her mother tells you that she has not been eating or drinking well. Upon initial examination, you notice swelling on the right side of C.J.'s neck. Her vital signs are as follows: temperature, 38.7 °C (101.6 °F); heart rate, 98; respiratory rate, 24; blood pressure, 100/64; and oxygen saturation, 99% on room air.

  • 6. Epiglottitis is included in the differential list for this patient. What is one of the signs or symptoms that you might expect to see if C.J. has epiglottitis?
    1. tripoding
    2. trismus
    3. unilateral otalgia
  • 7. If you are suspecting epiglottitis, what should you consider when ordering diagnostic tests or treatments?
    1. Obtain a rapid strep test early in the visit.
    2. Obtain a soft-tissue lateral neck radiograph before performing the oral examination.
    3. Obtain blood cultures before administering an antibiotic.
  • 8. You have ruled out epiglottitis as the cause of C.J.'s symptoms. What sign, symptom, or clinical examination finding would support the diagnosis of a PTA?
    1. uvula deviation toward the cervical lymphadenopathy
    2. muffled voice
    3. tongue swelling
  • 9. What does the author recommend as a diagnostic test to confirm a PTA and its exact location and size?
    1. a cervical computed tomographic scan
    2. a magnetic resonance spectroscopy scan of the neck
    3. a bedside intraoral or transcervical ultrasound scan
  • 10. C.J.'s history, physical assessment, and diagnostic tests confirm the diagnosis of a PTA. As noted in the article, it would be safest to treat her with ceftriaxone and
    1. clindamycin.
    2. penicillin G.
    3. vancomycin.
© 2023 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.